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-Submitted photo

Local artist Isaiah O’Neal Degen will be featured this weekend in a solo exhibition at the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association gallery, 921 Central Ave. The exhibition is Saturday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

A local artist will showcase his work this weekend with a solo art show at the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association Gallery.

The Isaiah O’Neal Degen Solo Art Show is on Saturdays from 5-7 PM at the FDFAA Gallery, 921 Central Ave.

Degen, a 2015 graduate of Fort Dodge Senior High, will show pieces he’s made over the past few months and a few from the past year using acrylics mixed with oil pastels and crayons. He said there will be about 15 artworks, including one with four canvases.

“Isaiah has always been a friend to our organization and we are excited to share this show with the community,” said FDFAA Executive Director Shelly Bottorff.

The theme of the art show is a mental health journey.

-Submitted photo

Local artist Isaiah O’Neal Degen will host a solo art show at the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.

“As a biracial man who grew up in a small community, I wanted to express the mental health issues I’ve had and have people look at it in a way that they too can understand that these things are OK to express, to talk about , to share with each other,” Degen said. “Most of my work is very personal to me.”

Art is deeply rooted in Degen’s life. He said he always loved drawing and loved art classes when he was in grade school but as he got older his confidence began to waver so he tucked art away in his heart until he was a senior in high school .

“I stopped really caring what the world thinks of me” he said. “I had to drop a lot of other classes to take art classes.”

Degen credits his high school art teacher, Lori Daniel, for rekindling his passion for art.

“She’s the one who kind of pushed me and told me ‘You’re capable, you’re a good artist,’ and gave me that space where I could build some confidence,” he said. “And later I wanted to continue it after high school.”

Degen also grew up with another artist in the family – his great-uncle was an art instructor at the University of Iowa.

“In a way, art has always been a part of me”, Degen said. “It just took me a really long time to think of myself as an artist and just pursue it.”

This will be Degen’s very first art show.

“I really enjoy hosting these events in our gallery,” Bottorff said. “Celebrating the arts and artists is what we do.”

Bottorff also noted that the FDFAA gallery also has artwork for sale from several area artists.

IF YOU GO

Isaiah O’Neal Degen solo art show

When: Saturday 5-7pm

Where: FDFAA Gallery, 921 Central Ave.

Free entrance. Open to the public.


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